28 MARCH 2017
I refer to the Comment by Sin Chew Daily that is reproduced in Free Malaysia Today as ‘Pivotal role for Sabah, Sarawak MPs over Hadi’s bill’. It has been suggested that the government’s version of RUU355 will only be applicable to Muslims in West Malaysia, in an effort to win over the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, who had strongly objected to the bill.
If this is the intention of the government, it shows the absurdity of the whole situation and makes it absolutely clear now that their taking over of the bill from PAS and trying to push it through was politically motivated. Even if the government proposes to exempt Sabah and Sarawak from the Bill, do not expect us to breathe a sigh of relief and allow the bill to pass without a fight.
This short-sighted ‘solution’ would prove that the BN/UMNO government places no importance on inclusiveness and equality, and is unconcerned that this move will divide the country into two, each with its own legal system. This will be in violation of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which must come into play now, more than ever before.
Article 8(1) states: All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. Article 8(2) provides: Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth, gender in any law…’
How is it possible that the government could even consider a Bill that offends Article 8 in almost every respect? MPs from Sabah and Sarawak must NOT be lured into believing that this is a good way out for them from being responsible and accountable for their actions. There is no escaping their sworn duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from being violated by the BN/UMNO government.
This Bill in its amended form will be unfair and unjust to our fellow citizens in West Malaysia, and our MPs must take cognizance of the fact that their duty to the citizens is not confined to those in their own constituencies, but extends to all Malaysians.
Furthermore, many Sarawakians and Sabahans reside and work in West Malaysia. It is not practical or realistic that they will be exempted from this oppressive law. Our MPs must also bear this in mind.
If we do not assert every citizen’s rights to equality under Article 8 now, and go along with the blinkered and misguided views that we can somehow be shielded from RUU355, once the law is passed, the proponents may pounce on Article 8 and insist that the law which we thought we were exempted from, should apply equally to us.
MPs from Sabah and Sarawak must stand firm and not play into the hands of those that would use us as pawns in their political games. This is a crucial test for our MPs – we have the opportunity to make a difference and to have a say in how we want Malaysia to be. The direction the country is has been heading is certainly not what our forefathers signed up for. Let us show the BN/UMNO government what we are made of.
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan